Print 93 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Feb 8 at 8:56 PM

AT&T plans rate increase for broadband service, hopes customers will be willing to pony up cash for higher rates

The state of broadband in U.S. was described in an in depth analysis at DailyTech last year as "pathetic" and "disgraceful".  The industry is plagued with poor service quality, substandard data rates, zealous attempts to limit file-sharing, and most of all high prices.

Fittingly, San Antonion-based AT&T, notorious for at one time suspending user's right to free speech, announced a rate hike.  The rate hike, a $5 flat rate increase to subscribers' current monthly fee, may be financially lucrative for the company, but is likely to make no one else very happy.  The increase, announced Monday by a company spokesman will go into effect in March.  All states besides those acquired by the buyout of Bell South will be effected.  Bell South operated in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, so these states are exempt.

There are some other notable exceptions to the increase.  The increase, while applying to the vast majority of accounts, only applies to the three slowest connections speeds; 768 kbps, 1.5 Mbps, and 3.0 Mbps.  The 1.5 Mbps service tier is AT&T's most used, with 14.2 million subscribers.  Most of these subscribers will be hit with the rate increase.

New subscribers to the 768 kbps service will be exempt, but most people don't choose this option.  Also exempt are customers who signed up under special promotion packages.  These customers are exempt for the remainder of their promotion's term. 

AT&T informed customers of the increase by email beginning last week.  AT&T spokesman Michael Coe states that the increase is to, "to better reflect the value of our broadband service."

AT&T has been having a tough time financially, ever since Chairman and Chief Executive Randall Stephenson announced that he saw weaknesses in the current consumer broadband and cell phone markets.   AT&T has also recently announced a controversial new filtering plan to snoop on consumer's use and block "rogue" file sharing traffic.

The consumer internet world has been having a tough time in the U.S. and abroad of late.  In France, the government threatens an internet tax which would raise prices.  In the U.S. domain tasters exploit the system to take domains and ad-revenue from legitimate users.   Meanwhile, Time Warner recently announced an even more scary proposal for the consumer broadand industry -- usage based billing schemes.  Normal consumer broadband is speed limited, but has no monthly bandwidth limit, to the delight of many downloaders.  Unfortunately, Time Warner labels these individuals "devil users" and looks to curb a feeling of entitlement to "all you can eat" internet.

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RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RandallMoore on 2/6/2008 9:46:29 AM , Rating: 2
I agree 100%. As for a the broadband goes,... consider yourself lucky and blessed to have broadband at all. I have lived 1 mile away from "the end of their run" of broadband for 4 or 5 years now. The reps. have been telling me, "Good news sir! Its coming to you area in just a couple of months!!. "In fact we have technicians working on it right now" 4 years later and I'm still on AOL dialup (angry scream). To top this all off I have a PS3 and gaming computer. Also I'm a Networking student in college!!! I guess you can imagine the horror. The government is not helping with any of these "Monopoly" services. It basically comes down to "If you don't want our t.v. or internet service, then you will be screwed and go without". There is no other provider in our area. Everyone here knows what happens when a company has no competition, so I don't need to elaborate

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/6/2008 10:32:49 AM , Rating: 1
So there's no place inside your (cave?) to mount a satellite dish?

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RandallMoore on 2/6/2008 11:31:05 AM , Rating: 2
There is... but I'm not willing to pay 600$ for it to be setup with another $80 monthly bill. You obviously don't know too much about satellite internet. They have Fair Access Policies (all of them) with huge latency and slow speeds. All that for 1Mb service for $80 a month?? No way. I'll just suffer with dialup instead of throwing my money away.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/7/2008 3:13:02 AM , Rating: 2
... and yet, you choose where to live, whose problem is it really? Lots of us choose a home location based on "utilities". Either move, or quit whining about it, there are in fact virtues in living away from others, either accept it, or don't and move.

I am sure you are not compelled to have roots there. If you must, the $600 seems high, but it's a tradeoff you have to make, similar to what we all make when choosing where to live.

IF you decide it's not worth the cost, I can respect that, nobody should ever tell you what you "should" do, but by the same token, you can't simultaneously omit the benefits of living outside the bounds of typical controls and not recognize you too had benefit. For example, I had to pay a yearly fee to populate a flower arrangement in our subdivision. Did you? If not, might that money, and further freedoms, be worth the cost IF you valued broadband service as much as your other freedoms?

I'm not trying to tell you what to spend money on, but rather that everything in life is about tradeoffs.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RandallMoore on 2/7/2008 10:16:19 AM , Rating: 2
Hard to choose where I live at the moment. College is VERY expensive, and its not easy to do anything when you can barely afford to go to school. We must not be as fortunate as you to have that kind of money to move wherever we want to. I agree, most things are a trade off. But what Im talking about is just plain laziness on the telcom end of the deal.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/8/2008 3:23:11 AM , Rating: 2
I find it hard to believe you are near a college and yet no affordable broadband internet access. Have you tried getting a good high gain directional antenna and seeing what's *out there*?

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RandallMoore on 2/8/2008 10:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
You can choose to believe me or not, but i live out in the country in NC. Im not living in a city. DSL is available 1 mile up the road. We are past the end of the line.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/8/2008 8:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
So you haven't tried a good high gain antenna?

Don't know what to say, you choose what you pay for. If you're really that poor you should qualify for financial aid. Are you spending a lot of time online instead of working like many students do? In the end if you wanted it bad enough you'd find a way, so I guess you don't.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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